Last week, Elon Musk and SpaceX caught headlines after reports revealed that the private space company had asked the Pentagon to pay for Starlink service in Ukraine. The news resulted in much criticism thrown against Musk and SpaceX, with some critics even calling for the private space agency to be nationalized.
It was then no surprise that during the weekend, Musk provided an update on Ukraine’s Starlink service and how it will be paid moving forward. According to the CEO, SpaceX will simply continue paying for Ukraine’s Starlink service — even if Starlink itself is still losing money as a business.
“The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
Prior to his announcement on Twitter, Musk had mentioned that Ukraine’s Starlink service is closing in on about $20 million a month. The SpaceX CEO noted that this is due to a variety of factors, such as the increasingly difficult task of defending the system against cyberattacks and jamming from Russia.
During the initial phases of the war, Russia attacked Ukraine’s internet infrastructure. Following requests from Ukrainian officials, SpaceX sent Starlink kits over to the beleaguered country, and before long, the satellite internet system became a difference-maker in the conflict.
This became especially evident last week when Russia attacked military, energy, and communications facilities in Ukraine. The day after the attack, Ukraine reported 19 casualties and over 100 injured. According to Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, however, Ukraine was quickly able to restore internet connection in critical areas thanks to Starlink.